Last week, John and I went up and drove the "Peak to Peak" highway and got some splendid pictures and talked over the whole idea of my going to Clarion West.
Click on 'em, and I have a half a dozen of the pictures up on Flickr...
But it was beautiful, the aspen colors last for such a little time here, as the wind or the cold takes them far faster than on the East Coast. And the color variations aren't nearly as neat as out eat. Still... it's beautiful when the wind blows through and all the gold trembles against the dark green of the dying pines. The pine beetles here will devastate the pine population here, but that will leave more room for the aspens.
So... with the writing. I have this... bad habit.
I love learning curves. The steeper the better, the faster I can hit them and the more I learn the happier I am. The problem is that I really don't care if I get good or not. I mean, I care if I get better, but not *good* enough to... whatever. Once I get good at something I kind of stop and tackle something else. Only with technical stuff did I stick around to gain the benefits of *being* good at it. As obvious rather recent examples after I'd done this I stopped knitting lace and after doing this I stopped doing color work. After making 'enough' I simply stopped doing technical work and haven't really looked back at doing it again. Also probably why I jumped to a new job every three years (okay, the hikes in pay weren't bad either); and the only way the last job kept me so long was that we belonged to three different companies and then I started swapping around jobs within Xilinx. After creating a ton and a half of produce at the OUR center garden, I've dropped off on vegetable gardening drastically. We're flooded in tomatoes, but I don't have to prove myself again. After giving birth to Jet, I've had no interest in another kid.
Thing is... I'm getting good at writing. Good at the long pieces and developing character and plot, and that's what I wanted to do with Twin Souls. Get a long piece done that really develops a lot of stuff and then uses it all at the end and really work hard on sharpening my detailing, my physical descriptions, and my ability to not just plan but execute on a complex plot that covers a lot of time and development on the part of the characters.
The interesting thing is that in thinking about doing Clarion West it's really different, it's all short story oriented. It's still writing, but... it's an entirely different form. It's like getting fixated on socks when I really want to do that sweater. And thinking about it, I guess my recent drabble/bedtime story fixes have already been a symptom of my trying to get away from the multi-chapter form I was hoping to master, first. And getting involved with authors that are more into original stuff seems to be another symptom that I'm starting to get restless about what I've been doing.
Talking it over with John, Clarion West might be more of a distraction than a real help. I'm pretty confident, now, that I could do a really solid novel in six months, if I can bring the end of Twin Souls in. What I probably should be doing now is starting to poke at a novel and some original characters for that in trying to figure out what the through line for a novel would be. And if I start that then I'd have something else 'fun' to work on as a buffer for finishing Twin Souls, so I don't hang back on finishing it without something else to do. Or... perhaps just plan the novel so that I have something solid to look forward to if I finish the long fic.
But between the time spent applying, the writing of four short stories for all the venues, and then the expense and time involved in the workshop itself, if I locked myself in an apartment/week hotel WITHOUT Internet access for a week at time I'd get far more done on a novel for the same expense... and it wouldn't tempt my inner demons about dealing with people. Kelly, in my original post, had a very good observation. If I can't even do a church meeting without it draining the heck out of me, why I would think I could deal with a roomful of people taking stabs at my writing, I just don't know. If I went this other way, it would let me just write.
And, the odd thing, is that part of my mind is convinced now that if *I* think I could do Clarion West, then I might be good enough just to do it on my own. Given my legendary self-doubt in my writing in the past, this is a huge thing. John noticed that, for the first time in my life, I actually sound like I know how well I can write, now. And, if for no other reason, these past nine months were worth spending just to get that confidence. He's willing to invest in six weeks of time completely without me around to help with Jet, but only if it's actually for the goal I really want. And, heck, even if I just concentrated on doing the novel instead of short story stuff... that might be good enough even without time alone in a room...